After we departed Cobb Mountain in Northern California, our next destination was Utah. We had a choice of 3 different routes. One of them went through Donner Pass. For those of you who do not know about Donner Pass, you can read about it here. Let’s just say that when it is snowing, it is dangerous. The second route was to go through the Sierra Nevadas through South Tahoe. And the final route went most of the length of California and then turned to go up through Las Vegas, the longest route on the road to Utah.
We checked the weather and there was supposed to be about 8 to 12 inches of new snow fall in Donner Pass. We looked up some images and we saw one of a snow bank taller than an 18 wheeler. Although this was the shortest route, we marked it off the list. The checked the conditions of the second route, through South Tahoe. One side of the road was closed due to car sized boulders rolling down onto the road. Yep. You guessed it. We marked it off the list. The third route’s conditions had no adverse weather and the only thing we had to deal with was traffic. We found a winner.
Leaving Cobb Mountain, we wound down the mountainside and the route took us right through California Wine Country, Napa Valley. We saw vineyard upon vineyard as we drove through. We also recognized some of the names of the vineyards. It was pretty cool.
After exiting Napa Valley, we entered farmland. It was miles and miles of farms that raised livestock, crops and orchards of all kinds. Some of the hills were so green and rolling that it actually looked fake. It was a sight to see and we saw it for quite a while as Northern and Central California was filled with them.
To the East of Los Angeles is the City of Bakersfield. It was at this juncture that we also headed East after driving South all day on Interstate 5. When we began our Eastward trek, we began to drive through hills and valleys that led to a landscape of what people envision when they think of the Southwest.
We continued to push all day. We do not commonly go more than 10 hours, sometimes 11 hours, in a day. We did not want to start in California and end the day, still in California. So, we continued on until we made it through the hills and valleys East of Bakersfield and crossed the border into Nevada.
Once across the border, we pulled into the first place we saw. There is actually a fairly large development of businesses in Primm, Nevada, the first city we came to. There are three big hotels: Primm Valley, Buffalo Bill’s and Whiskey Pete’s. The development was large enough that is spanned across the Interstate and was connected by a tram that ran on rail over the Interstate. The area had things like IHOP, Starbucks, clothing stores, golf, rides and more.
We spent the night at Whiskey Pete’s. The rooms were reasonable and they were recently updated in their decoration. We were able to get 2 rooms with 2 queen beds in each room for just over $110 total. They do assess an attraction or resort type fee. All of that was included in the price I stated. In the morning, we ate at IHOP, fueled up and were on our way.
Within an hour we came to the border of Sin City, better known as Las Vegas. The traffic was not too bad and we were able to drive through fairly easily. We came to it during the day time so the family missed all of the nighttime Las Vegas lights. So, we plan on coming back.
It wasn’t too much longer and we entered into Arizona, The Grand Canyon State. Although we were not at the Grand Canyon, canyons were all around us, very interesting topography. We snaked our way through the canyons until we finally came into Utah, where the land opened up a bit. There were less canyons and more mountains and mesas.
The road to Utah was a long one. I am grateful that the trip was uneventful, as far as weather is concerned, and that we arrived safely. Exploring this region is going to be a blast! Hiking, hiking and more hiking. Safe Travels.